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Hope is the Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic

Author Event and Group Reading

  • Tue, Nov 9, 20217:30 pm Tickets

    No cost for admission. Concessions will be available for sale.

In March 2020, as a pandemic began to ravage our world, writer and professor B. J. Hollars started a collaborative writing project to bridge the emotional challenges created by our physical distancing. Drawing upon Emily Dickinson’s famous poem “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” Hollars called on Wisconsinites to reflect on their own glimpses of hope in the era of COVID-19. The call resulted in an avalanche of submissions, each reflecting on hope’s ability to persist and flourish, even in the darkest times.

As the one hundred essays and poems gathered in this book demonstrate, hope comes in many forms: a dad dance, a birth plan, an unblemished banana, a visit from a neighborhood dog, the revival of an old tradition, empathy. The result is a book-length exploration of the depth and range of hope experienced in times of crisis, as well as an important record of what Wisconsinites were facing and feeling through these historic times.

Come and hear from nine local authors on their contributions to the book in this evening of exploration and introspection. Please click here to review the Heyde Center's policy on COVID19 prevention measures.

B.J. Hollars is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and the founder and executive director of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild. He has written ten books and edited three anthologies. Jodie Arnold is from Stanley, Wisconsin, and currently resides in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. She writes plays, creative nonfiction, radio dramas, and poetry and has performed as a featured storyteller for several regional events. Justin Carter is a follower of Jesus, married to his high school sweetheart Renee, and they have four children. He is the lead minister of Cornerstone Christian Church in Western Wisconsin. Jay Gilbertson lives in Prairie Farm, Wisconsin. He is a published author, husband, pumpkin seed oil farmer, and he believes in you. Karen Loeb’s time in Japan twenty years ago has given her hope and solace during the time of COVID. These are postcard-type poems she has written reflecting on that earlier time. Her two-year stint as Eau Claire writer-in-residence finished in May 2020. Under the name Delaney Green, Debra Peterson writes long and short works of speculative fiction. She has worked as a reporter, copy editor, professional actress, teacher, farm laborer, and, lately, mask-sewer. Patti See’s work has appeared in numerous national publications and anthologies. The Chippewa Falls native writes a monthly column, “Sawdust Stories,” in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and an award-winning blog on Alzheimer’s. Kaia Simon is a lifelong Wisconsinite (except for her seven-year stint at the University of Illinois in Urbana–Champaign, where she earned her PhD). She is a writer and professor in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. Bruce Taylor, professor emeritus, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, is former poet laureate of Eau Claire, curator of Local Lit for Volume One, and host of the reading series, Off the Page. He is author of eight collections of poetry and editor of numerous anthologies. Jamie Vue is a writing coach at the University of Wisconsin–Stout. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, and attended college in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where she has been living with her husband for the past fifteen years.

No cost for admission. Concessions will be available for sale.